By Ahmad Kabariti / Mondoweiss
December 16, 2016
“To play music means to spread happiness among others. I think that even the ones who used to make people suffer and were involved in killing and destruction, would not mind to have moments of joy and happiness.”
Just outside a building in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City a group of young people gather under a window to listen to the beautiful classical music coming out of the window a few meters above.
The window belongs to a small apartment used as a modest music school, which runs without proper lighting due to long hours of power cuts in Gaza. The music they’re listening to is played by Raslan Ashour, 16, who is practicing Mozart’s “Exsultate, Jubilate” on a trumpet.
As he started to play another melody, Natasha Radawn, his tutor watches closely and smiles. “His performance has improved a lot, despite some tiny mistakes,” she says.
Ashour’s passion to learn oriental and western classical music was not very welcomed by his mother who believed her son should learn “something more useful” such as management, in order to be like his father who works in the fashion business.
“My father is the one who bought me the trumpet in the first place. I have a dream of being a maestro waving a baton in front of an orchestra. Why not? I would love to be that person,” Ashour told Mondoweiss.
The Gaza Music School was established in 2008 as part of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, and was damaged by the war took place on Gaza at the end of the same year. Said established the main branch of the music institute in Jerusalem under the slogan: Today an orchestra, tomorrow a state. “The state is not the stone streets and buildings or economy, the state is culture,” Suhail Khoury, director of the conservatory, said in a 2014 statement.
Music education is not common in Gaza but now nearly 190 eager students are gathering in the rooms of this school. Many hope to use their instruments to escape from the turbulent situation in the besieged Gaza Strip to quite a different world.